Gateway of Hope House of Restoration
Recognizing the Signs of Sexual Trafficking

Are you or someone you know being trafficked? 
Is human trafficking happening in your community? 
Is the situation you may have encountered sexual human trafficking? 

The following is a list of potential red flags and indicators of sexual human trafficking to help you recognize the signs. If you see any of these red flags, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 for specialized victim services referrals or to report the situation. (Until we get our own Hotline)

The presence of these red flags is an indication that further assessment may be necessary to identify a potential sexual human trafficking situation. This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. Also, the red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative. Indicators reference conditions a potential victim might exhibit.

Common Living Conditions:

Is not free to leave or come and go as she wishes
Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
Is unpaid, paid very little
Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
Was recruited through false promises
   High security measures exist in the living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security      cameras, etc.)

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:

Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior 
Avoids eye contact
She’s scared and looks desperate
Gives you a distressed look and her face is filled with fear

Poor Physical Health:

Lacks medical care
Appears malnourished
Shows signs of physical abuse

Lack of Control:

Has few or no personal possessions
is not in control of her own money
Is not in control of her own identification documents (ID)
Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves, a second or third party may be present
Claims of just visiting, an inability to clarify where she is staying/address
Lack of knowledge of whereabouts or what city she is in (if not from your city)
Loss of sense of time
Has numerous inconsistencies in her story

Warning signs of sexual exploitation and sexual trafficking in teens or young adults:

History of emotional, sexual, or other physical abuse
Signs of physical abuse such as burn marks, bruises or cuts
Signs of current, inexplicable physical illness and/or sexually transmitted disease
History of running away or current status as a runaway, throwaway or castaway
Truancy or chronic absences from class
Drug addiction
Sexualized behaviors
Overly tired in class
Withdrawn, depressed or distracted
In possession of large amounts of money or brags about making or having lots of money
Displays expense clothing, accessories, shoes or other gifts
New tattoo (Tattoos are often used by pimps as a way to brand victims. 
  Tattoos of a name, symbol of money or barcode could indicate trafficking.)
Presence of older friends (male or female)
Talks about or invites students/friends to wild parties
Inappropriate dress (tight or sexually provocative clothing, weather inappropriate, etc.)
Development of delinquent behaviors or legal issues
Difficulty making or maintaining eye contact

Where is human sexual trafficking most common in the US?

The Department of State lists the top three states with the most human trafficking activity are California, New York and Texas. California Against Slavery reported that 3 of the ten worst child sex trafficking areas in the United States are in California: San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

What does human sexual trafficking mean?

Human sexual trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of commercial sex act. Every year, millions of women, and children are sexually trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States.

How do People become victims of sexual trafficking?

Human sexual trafficking occurs when victims are unlawfully taken from their homes and transported to new locations for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Individuals of all ages become victims of sexual trafficking. This includes young children who are kidnapped, abused, and exploited.

How do traffickers get victims?

Traffickers often use fraud -- by setting a price for travel or shelter and ordering the victim to pay it off through prostitution -- to convince their victims to work it off.

What causes human sexual trafficking for women?

One of the main causes of sexual trafficking is migration, especially in developing countries, dishonest people, high demand for sex workers, and lack of resources to protect borders etc.

What happen to victims of sexual trafficking?  

Since it is one of the most severe crimes that breaches human rights, human sexual trafficking victims suffer from abuse of their most simple human rights: the right to live, to have freedom and equality, security and dignity. Further, the victims suffer from the most horrible forms of violence and exploitation.

What are the statistics of sexual human trafficking?

Women and Children: According to human trafficking statistics compiled by The International Labor Organization, there are an estimated 15.4 million human sexual trafficking victims across the world, with most of them being women and girls. A shocking 26% of total trafficking victims are children.

How to help stop sex trafficking – Taking Individual Action:

Write a letter to your representatives.
Volunteer at a local organization dedicated to helping victims.
Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper or magazine.
Talk to your friends and family members about it.
   Offer survivors legal services if you are an attorney

How can you fight human sexual trafficking?

Work with a local religious community or congregation to help stop sexual trafficking by supporting a victim service provider or 
   spreading awareness of sexual trafficking. 
Businesses and organizations: Provide jobs, internships, skills training, and other opportunities to sexual trafficking survivors. 
Students: Take action on your campus.

Note: According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.

If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact The National Human Trafficking Hotline. Please call 911. (Until we get our own Hotline)